By: Jac Bakley, Video Game Critic
Resident Evil 2 was originally released for the Playstation 1 in 1998. After that, it soon found itself ported to many other consoles- the Dreamcast, GameCube, PC, and the N64. The game was developed using a 512-megabit cartridge. Released in 1999, this game was considered to be a massive improvement over its predecessor.
There’s no music up to the title screen. You are given the option of playing one of two characters- Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. I chose Claire, because there’s not many games where you have the option to play as a female protagonist.
There’s two stories, which depend on the character you choose. Claire is searching for her brother and realizes that the town she’s visiting is infested with zombies. Leon, an officer, takes her to the station. It’s up to Claire to find a way for the them to leave the city unharmed.
The environment may catch you by surprise. The overworld is split into hundreds of different screens and the camera is in a fixed position for each. It never moves and there’s no way to control it.
The enemies in the game are mostly zombies. Sometimes you won’t be able to draw your gun before you’re dead. Claire only has one life, so keep your weapon armed at all times.
Minutes into the game, Claire gets a crossbow. The crossbow will kill most of your targets in one hit the downside, though, is that you run out of bolts very quickly and they’re scarce.
Most of the game takes place in the police station. However, you’ll also travel through the city sewers and Umbrella’s research facility.
The graphics are superb, showing great modeling and detail of the overworld and characters. If there’s one thing that makes Resident Evil 2 stand out, it’s the cutscenes.
The voice acting is terrible.It sounds like they used one recording of words that were to be repeated throughout and just slapped hasty voice files into the game.
Shortly through the station, you’ll come across more enemies in the game called Lickers, who are really hard to kill. You have no chance of killing them with your handgun alone before they kill you. You need the crossbow and plenty of bolts. You can also kill them with ease if you find the secret room where you can find a grenade launcher. If you can find acid rounds for the grenade launcher in some areas of the police station, you can kill the Lickers in one shot.
The atmosphere of the game is fantastic. Even Capcom’s later title, “Resident Evil 4”, didn’t manage to pull that kind of atmosphere off.
There’s a fair amount of puzzles to solve in this game that feel out of place and unnecessary. These puzzles make little sense, but if you think about it, this whole game makes little sense.
Another problem is the inventory system. Until halfway through the game, Claire is only allowed to carry eight items at a time. For the first hour of gameplay, that’s not a problem, but later on, you’re gonna find yourself loaded with different weapons, keys, treasures, and other resources. This makes the game require a lot of backtracking. Crates are scattered around the station to can put your items into making room for the ones you need. There were times where I thought I didn’t need a key anymore, but ended up finding out I still needed it one last time. Crates aren’t too common and can bring the flow of the game to a complete halt and make unlocking doors and solving puzzles even more tedious than they have to be.
Conveniently the game has a great way of letting you know that you’re low on energy. Claire walks and runs normally when her health is full. When her health is halfway gone, she will put her hand on her stomach. When she’s almost toast, Claire will start limping.
The controls in this game are so bad. Aiming the gun, turning around, changing direction while running, and positioning Claire in a specific spot are a big enough problem to ruin the overall enjoyment of the game. You can only aim the gun in a 45-degree angle up or down, and Claire is really slow turning around, and more.
That’s Resident Evil 2 for the N64. The atmosphere and graphics really bring the game to life, but the controls and inventory system are the real problems that plague the overall experience. The game isn’t too hard, so you can beat it in four hours at most. A definite classic in the N64 library.