In the early 2000’s Nintendo had struck a deal to get Resident Evil as an exclusive for them and the GameCube system, and with that came two titles with one of them being arguably the best Resident Evil game – A remake of the original Resident Evil, more commonly known as REMake and Resident Evil 0.
GameCube, obviously, had much more power than the PS1 and was graphically on another planet so it had the potential to be fantastic. The only fears being it was a classic game and had cult status, a lot of remakes, particularly with film, don’t quite do justice to the original. REMake did it justice and went further establishing itself as one of the best Resident Evil games and one of the best game overall of all time.
It kept the same feel of the original and looked fantastic, it was the perfect remake a fan could have asked for – it really delivered in all aspects and has since made fans want them same treatment for Resident Evil 2 and so on, which sadly hasn’t been done (as of writing).
The plot is largely unchanged; it’s the same characters, same mansion and same secret organisation with a biological crisis. However, now there are better graphics so the characters looked realistic as well as a better (not that it could be worse) voice acting team which made the whole game have a tremendously realistic feel to it and made you feel right there with Chris and Jill.
There was now a new subplot in the game which adds to the terror of what Umbrella did in their prime involving the Trevor family. The father of the family, George was the one who designed the mansion including traps, puzzles and hidden rooms which does sort of explain why there would possibly be so many puzzles and traps in a mansion, it didn’t need an explanation as it was just a game but it was a great addition to the plot and mystery.
The subplot regards not just George Trevor but his family and what happened to them after the mansions completion, the daughter Lisa was captured and experimented on and remains on the grounds as an abomination and someone the characters need to face throughout the game. The storyline isn’t huge, but it does add a new dimension and definitely something extra for those who played the original.
Other than that there was nothing new to the plot really, it was just the same but polished and refined. The core plotline remains the same and other than Lisa, there isn’t anything in the game that will come as a surprise.
However much the same the basic plot is, with the increased power of the GameCube, the storytelling is on another planet with the cutscenes and graphics making Resident Evil Remake much more alive than the original. It has been done truly well and even those who have played the original a million times will be in awe of how brilliant the story has been retold.
Much like the storyline the basic gameplay mechanics were the same, tank controls and pre rendered backgrounds. Of course the camera angles had changed somewhat but it more or less the same.
One of the many new additions were the defence items for the characters. These would be used to get a zombie off before he can bite – serving as a last stand providing you had any of the items left on you. Chris had a dagger and a grenade whilst Jill had dagger and a taser. Defense items were a nice little addition to the game, and can help to get you out of a bind, just don’t expect them to help you against some of the larger enemies in the mansion.
Characters could now (still) run up most stairs without a loading screens as introduced in RE3 however there still needed a loading screen through most doors, whether that was just to keep the feature or that it did still need to keep loading like that. On the subject of doors, more zombies could now open doors and the more ferocious zombies, the Crimson Heads, could also chase after you through the doors. Nothing groundbreaking, but can give you a shock from time to time.
The inventory screen had another revamp but it more or less feels the same. There are no real additions to the inventory other than aesthetics really. However, you can now use herbs and F.A. Spray if you have a full inventory like introduced from RECV.
The original RE’s puzzles were still there but had all been given a make over. For example the armour room was still the same size and looks but the puzzle was fairly more complicated than it used to. Other notable puzzles are the fish tank puzzle, pool table and powering up the lab.
The mansion and surrounding buildings had been touched up majorly with entire new areas added to the original’s dead ends. This served to lengthen the game as well as provide a new surprise for returning players. Some of the notable revamps were the underground, first zombie room and definitely the aqua ring. Some areas were modified slightly and others completely revamped.
After completion of the game initially there were also more new additions, such as unlocking an infinite Samurai Edge, the classic Rocket Launcher and costumes. By completing it once you could unleash a dangerous zombie into the mansion, which really fucks your shit up.
Concluding, REMake, although a remade edition of the original still feels very much like it and still retains the original terror aided by the camera angles and the stiff controls. Everything that made the original great is here with loads of new extras which in no way ruined the experience: it aided to it.
When this came out GameCube was state of the art and REMake was one of the best looking games around, the mansion was incredibly detailed with brilliant lighting and details on just about everything- things were covered in cobwebs, dust and all sorts and it definitely looked in a state rather than the original game which looked fairly clean and undisturbed really.
What was really changed by the graphics engine however were the cutscenes and introductions of enemies and characters. It’s difficult to be scared of the monsters in the original now they look blocky but REMake brings them more to “life” with better detail and movement of the monsters. As an example is the introduction of Neptune.
It was pretty obvious the mansion was going to look great in the remake, and it really did. Every single room looked fantastic throughout the game, and with the characters being updated as well everything fit it. There used to be a problem with RE where the background and puzzles clashed as one was pre rendered and the other wasn’t. But not anymore, everything looked as if they were meant to be there.
In conclusion, REMake was a fantastic looking game in its day and even now. I played it recently and thought it looked as good as any other game if it was just HD. Something Capcom really need to get on with.
Again, consoles were much more powerful than they used to be, and that went for the sound as well. Bigger discs meant higher quality tracks and REMake was no exception.
However, Capcom still maintained subtle music for the game and a lot of tracks were remade version of the original, for example the main hall theme.
One of the areas that did get a big upgrade though were the sound effects. Guns and splatter were much detailed than they used to be.
The laughable voice overs were also scrapped and in came a proper cast of actors and a much better script.
REMake’s impact was instant and hailed as one of the best games of all time. It showed the video game history that this was the way to remake games, keep the soul and improve everything else. With REMake Capcom did just that.
However, it is fair to say that it didn’t have as much of an impact as it should as it was an exclusive on the GameCube. As popular as it was it missed out on the entire Xbox and PS2/3 market. Even to this day you still need a GC or a Wii to play them.
But the fact still remains, REMake was an unbelievably good game and it still is. Like I mentioned earlier, I played this recently and it was just as good as any other game I had going at the time if better. This game is an eternal classic.
This was Resident Evil’s finest hour for me, Resident Evil 4 came shortly but REMake was the best game they made in the series, particularly in the pre rendered old style Resident Evil games.
Resident Evil remake also set the tone for Resident Evil 0 the prequel to the series and used the same engine, with the latter being the last game using this system.
With the style RE took with 4 and onwards, REMakes legacy in the series wasn’t much, but in terms of a video game it is the benchmark for remakes and probably the best remake game ever made.