It doesn't work!
May 20, 2009

This just goes to show how infrequently our computer is left unattended.

Installing a game, and it's taking ages. I begin idly flicking through GamesTM in the meantime, reading about the new Red Faction and, ooh, a new and interesting take on OnLive and all sorts of loveliness. I'm just starting to get rather involved in all the magaziney goodness when my monitor flicks to a black screen.


I check the CPU. The disc drive's still whirring, so it seems to be my monitor at fault. I wiggle the cables in the back, but nothing. I unplug it and plug it back in again. Nothing. I take the cables out fully, straighten them out, plug them back in. Still nothing.

I sit back, thoroughly confused. What the hell's going on? If the game's still installing - it's near the end now, and it's taken the best part of an hour - I don't want to reboot the system and lose all progress. What to do? A move forward to take a closer look at the monitor, and accidentally nudge the mouse.

And the monitor springs back to life.

It's been so long since the computer was unattended for 45 minutes straight that I'd forgotten it's set to automatically power off after that time.


Anyway, minor embarrassment over, the real point of all this is that, today, I did something incredible. I went into a shop, and I bought a game. A game with a red sky and silhouettes of trees on the front. A game sporting the title "Resident Evil."

Not Resi 5, of course. God, no. I'm hardly going to splash out 30+ on a Resident Evil game. But number 4, the supposed pinnacle. I got it on the PC because I saw it going cheap, and thought it probably deserved another go. The shop didn't have it on the PS2.

What I didn't know is that it's one of the most famously awful conversions ever. This is a port whose quick-time events STILL DISPLAY PS2 CONTROLLER SYMBOLS ON-SCREEN, meaning you've no choice but to frantically hit every button you can think of until one of them happens to be the right one. It's a game stuck in ugly, fixed 800x600 resolution, and a game without an option to exit back to windows. Seriously. You honestly have to bring up the task manager to leave the game.

And what's tragic about all this is that, to my amazement, the game itself seems to actually be not awful. A little clumsy and full of itself, sure, but not the catastrophic mess that people inexplicably adore that I expected. It's quite tense, reasonably atmospheric, and the pacing seems exceptional. Not bad, y'know?

I'd go as far as to say it could have been the game to revolutionise my opinion of the series. Except it won't be, because this version of it is barely playable. There's no excuse for shoddy conversions, full stop. When they're this abominable, it's mind-blowing. There is no way this was fit to be released on the PC.

Most recent blog posts from Lewis Denby...

EmP EmP - May 20, 2009 (08:50 AM)
The editor part of my brain (The part I try really hard to drown out with the less nerdy parts) wonders what you were installing and if it'll finally lead to some benefit for me.

I still stand by my frank enjoyment of Res 5: a game I can reel off a huge list of issues with.
bloomer bloomer - May 20, 2009 (06:21 PM)
RE4 was game of the year for about 10 years in a row in the space of 3 years. Which is fair enough as it's effing superb. But it no longer has much to do at all with the previous RE paradigm. It's a huge severance and basically a totally different series from that point on.

So I don't think you shouldn't revise your opinion of the whole series based on RE4. You should continue to be angry at the previous games, and just say 'I like RE4 and onward' ;) At least if you manage to get to play it in one of the many formats in which it does not suck.

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