Just like the zombie hordes that have become the trademark of the franchise, Resident Evil keeps coming back for more. But is this re-animated instalment from 2003 worthy of your time seven years on? Read our festering Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero review and you might just discover the answer.
While Capcom’s incredibly popular Resident Evil series has been expanded in style thanks to recent outings such as Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, the company is far too savvy to let potential profits slip through its fingers; as well as these all-new chapters we’ve also been gifted with “re-heated” versions older titles in the series, with Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero being the latest to roll off the production line.
There’s an excellent chance that you never played the Resident Evil Zero in its original guise; launched on Nintendo’s underappreciated GameCube back in 2003, this is a prequel to the very first title and sees you controlling two different characters as they attempt to survive the unfortunate zombie holocaust that surrounds them.
The big draw of Resident Evil Zero is undoubtedly the ability to switch seamlessly between the two main protagonists. Rebecca Chambers is the stereotypical blushing heroine; she’s slight of frame but is handy at mixing together life-restoring herbs. Her companion is the brooding, heavily-tattooed convict Billy Coen, who is naturally a little more rugged but isn’t quite as adept at DIY apothecary.
During the adventure – which takes place in several locations, the most memorable being a runaway train overcrowded with walking corpses – you’ll be given the opportunity to split up your daring duo in order to solve rudimentary puzzles and overcome fiendish obstacles.
Sadly, despite this rather neat gameplay mechanic Resident Evil Zero is saddled with some excruciatingly poor design choices, many of which are due to the fact that it adheres so strictly to the pre-Resident Evil 4 blueprint. Even back in 2003 the static camera angles, awkward controls and infuriatingly difficult combat seemed outdated; in 2010, these elements feel even more outmoded.
The lack of any embellishments – not even Wii-exclusive motion commands – renders Resident Evil Zero an unforgivably lazy port. If you missed out on the game when it was first released and you consider yourself to be a die-hard Resi fan then this is as good a time as any to sample its dubious charms, but in all honesty the archaic gameplay and last-gen presentation result in a piece of software that’s as rough around the edges as the shambling, undead assailants which relentlessly stalk its pre-rendered environments.