Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

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
. 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...


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.

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

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by hmd [+]
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (PlayStation 3) artwork
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (PlayStation 3)

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days seems to get it. It is not a game that opens with a slow burn. It does not begin with a long, drawn-out cutscene. It does not begin with a slow-paced tutorial level that reminds you, the player, in the year 2010, that holding down the L1 button aims your gun while the R1 button fires it.
Billy Bob's Huntin' and Fishin' (Game Boy Color) artwork
Billy Bob's Huntin' and Fishin' (Game Boy Color)

There are a lot of games on the Game Boy. As a general rule of thumb, those of us with some sense in our heads tend to shy away from anything with the words "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen," "Nickelodeon," "Disney" or "port of the thrilling arcade classic!" on the box. Thankfully, this isn't hard, as, despite what the "pro...
Call of Duty: World at War (PlayStation 3) artwork
Call of Duty: World at War (PlayStation 3)

I imagine that it's hard to be Infinity Ward. Ever since the creation of their fantastic Call of Duty series, they've had to deal with a horrific publisher in Activision, helmed by Noah Keller, the next Hiroshi Yamauchi. Their games, which take the concepts Valve made famous with their Half-Life series and run with it,...


If you enjoyed this Resident Evil Gaiden review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2022 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Resident Evil Gaiden is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Resident Evil Gaiden, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.