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Resident Evil Gaiden (Game Boy Color) artwork

Resident Evil Gaiden (Game Boy Color) review


"Ask any video game fan on the internet what he (or she, if you aren't of the belief that women do not exist on the internet) thinks about the Resident Evil series. Every answer is the same: The first game was kinda-okay-ish. The second game was the greatest thing on the Playstation until Capcom saw fit to re-release the game a mind-boggling six "



Ask any video game fan on the internet what he (or she, if you aren't of the belief that women do not exist on the internet) thinks about the Resident Evil series. Every answer is the same: The first game was kinda-okay-ish. The second game was the greatest thing on the Playstation until Capcom saw fit to re-release the game a mind-boggling six
times
. Then there was some crap. Then there was Code Veronica. Then there was some more crap. Then came Resident Evil 4, and BAM, gaming changed forever (not really, but this is the internet, where hyperbole is a valuable tool).

Resident Evil: Gaiden is one of those games that hit after people were only just beginning to take Code Veronica out of their Dreamcasts. As a little-known spin-off for the Game Boy Color, of all systems, it would be easy to dismiss this game as crap. So the question is: is this game deservedly overlooked crap, like the Survivor or Outbreak games, or is it a tragically underlooked gem, like fellow Game Boy Color title Metal Gear: Ghost Babel?

Short Answer: this game is crap.

Long Answer: as a game, it never steps out of mediocrity. As a Resident Evil title, it is a failure. There's a simple reason for this.

Resident Evil is one of those games. It is one of those games you play before some of your friends show up. These guys aren't into gaming as much as you. At best, they have an X-Box 360 with Rainbow Six and those games you could buy at Burger King. Once they arrive, the first (and only thing) they do is break out the bong and start passing it around, hesitating before each hit to ask you why you're playing such kiddie shit. Then you do something that makes the whole room stop: you pull out a shotgun and blow off a zombie's head. Mouths agape, one of them looks and asks you to "do that shit again, dude." So you run forward, turn a corner and fire off another round, this time completely removing the zombie's upper body. A collective "HOLY SHIT" then erupts in the room.

The Resident Evil series has been around for over a decade for the reason above. The Handheld was never designed for "HOLY SHIT" moments; it's not something that can be enjoyed in groups (at least not until the advent of the wi-fi). Try playing a handheld game around a group of normally peaceful stoner kids and watch them turn violent in a millisecond; the idea of you breaking their flow by playing that thing is like, so annoying and shit, dude. As such, the idea of porting the Resident Evil Experience, while noble, is a flawed one.

Rather than find a way to compress a game who's origins were on a system with eight buttons to a horrifically underpowered system with two buttons, Capcom turned RE: Gaiden into a kinda-sorta Resident Evil RPG. Run around some hallways (with a top-down perspective), find a zombie, and then the perspective changes to a first person fight scene using a system that you've seen in every mini-game in every game you've ever played. A slider slides back and forth across a bar on the bottom of the screen, and hitting the A button when the slider reaches the "sweet spot" as it's known, will land you a head shot. If they get too close, then that's when you start taking damage. Obviously, you want to avoid this by hitting as many "sweet spots" as you can.

|||||||||||
something like this

Rather than hit sweet spots in a mansion, police station, Spanish village or any RE staple, you'll be running around looking for zombies on a cruise ship of all things. A zombie-filled cruise ship. You see, since Raccoon City got sterilized (read: blown up), members of the S.T.A.R.S team formed their own underground resistance movement against Umbrella (because they run the government I guess?), and tracked a new Umbrella monster on board a cruise ship. Since Leon Kennedy (looking skinnier than ever) hasn't reported back, it's up to...wait for it...

SPECIAL AGENT BARRY BURTON

to rescue Leon and destroy the monster.

Of course, the only person to send out on a rescue mission is the same guy who once saved someone from becoming a Jill Sandwich. Eventually, spoiler alert, you'll find Leon alive and well (unconscious in a hole in the floor), and then the two of you team up to go run around and find some zombies to fight and bars to slide and simple traps to fall into ("How did you know that thing would be here?" "I JUST DO!").

I've already made it clear that this game fails as a Resident Evil game, since the experience is stripped away in the journey from home console to handheld. And in case I haven't beaten it into your head quite yet, Resident Evil: Gaiden is unable to stand out on its own merits, since it's a mediocre "watch the bar"-fest with a plot that sounds like that really good idea you had for an RE title back in sixth grade, but without the dinosaurs, roller blades, cameo appearances by Wolverine and Spawn or space travel.

Rating: 2/10

hmd's avatar
Community review by hmd (May 05, 2007)

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