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Resident Evil

Resident Evil & Terricide

Something wicked this way comes

By Steven Bilodeau

"Resident Evil" produced by Capcom Games
"Terracide" produced by Eidos Interactive

Computer games aren't like cheese or wine - very few get better with age. Take Resident Evil for instance. This game was released almost two years ago for the Sony PlayStation. At that time, it was truly an impressive game. Graphics were rich and detailed with integrated full-motion video and gameplay that was uncommon for a console title. In a third person perspective, you took your character (either female or male) through a haunted house, possessed by zombies and monsters, looking for a missing colleague.

The fact that this game sold over two million copies for the PlayStation naturally led to it being converted into a Windows 95 title. It just took too long to do.

The graphics are comparable to the PlayStation version, since this game requires a 3D accelerator card. There's more to a good game than a pretty face, however, and that's where Resident Evil fails. Although it was fairly original on the PlayStation, this game was done before on the computer 'way back in 1992 in a game called Alone in the Dark. It, too, took place in a possessed house and was in a third person perspective. Its graphics were also impressive at the time. In both games, the object is to walk around and find items, solve puzzles (like flipping switches in a certain sequence to unlock a door) with plenty of combat action against the creatures. But where Alone in the Dark is considered a classic, Resident Evil is simply derivative and flawed, despite its more impressive look.

For example, the computer gamer is saddled with some console game limitations. We computer types are used to being able to save our games whenever we want, since memory isn't usually an issue. In a console like the PlayStation, memory is an add-on luxury that must be carefully rationed. So in the original version of Resident Evil, you could only save your progress at certain points in the game. These points are represented by typewriters scattered throughout the mansion. Even when you find a typewriter, you have to have a ribbon in your inventory in order to use it. It's a cumbersome, illogical system that pointlessly causes you to replay certain segments over and over. You'll end up doing that a lot since the monsters kill you quickly. Replaying this game also means that you have to listen to the wretched voice acting over and over. It is some of the worst I've ever encountered in any game.

The only enhancement to the computer version is that the gory scenes that were deleted from the PlayStation version have been restored. They do look grisly but are ultimately unconvincing and unimpressive rather than scary. When you have games like Tomb Raider and Time Commando to play, I don't know why you would want to endure Resident Evil. It should have either been released alongside the console version or else upgraded with a proper save feature and competent voices.Terracide

Terracide, from Eidos Interactive, is an example of how to clone a game properly. This title is similar in many ways to Descent, Interplay's huge hit from 1995. Eidos took the idea of a 360 degree shooter and placed it inside of a vast alien ship. The player maneuvers through corridors, rooms and tunnels. The designers didn’t stop there, though, adding a number of enhancements. The graphics in Terracide are so good that they won an award for best use of the 3Dfx card’s capabilities. Lighting is realistic and shows shading and gradation using many different colours and textures. If you have a 3D card, you may want to see just how good an image it can produce!

You don’t need to have a 3D accelerator to play Terracide, however, and the regular version is also impressive.

As for gameplay, enemies are challenging without being too difficult. The weapons are not as "fun" as those found in Duke Nukem 3D, but they’re enjoyable enough. There’s an added dose of enjoyment between levels. Instead of a simple cutscene showing you flying to the next ship, they’ve added some extra gaming in between where you shoot down alien fighters en route. It’s a pleasant, if brief, diversion.

Multiplayer games are supported over modem, network or Internet.

Terracide isn’t innovative in the gameplay sense. It is a significantly enhanced version of a game that has proven to be popular -- a good sequel in everything but name.

Steven Bilodeau is a columnist for the Edmonton Journal. You can find more of his columns at

Steven Bilodeau can be reached via e-mail at And for more computer news, visit JournalExtra, the World Wide Web site of The Edmonton Journal, at


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January 31, 2006