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Resident Evil Gaiden: Impressions

Resident Evil Gaiden As much as I don't like to support any sorts of piracy or emulation outright, if I get the chance to try a game early through either medium I usually don't complain and will attempt a go at the game (better than not at all I say). Today, a link posted and forwarded to me led me to the Game Boy Color ROM of a pre-release version of Resident Evil Gaiden. In short I must thank Ke7bo for the final link I used.

With this, I've just started to have a go at it, and so I'll give you my first impressions of the portable Resident Evil Gaiden videogame to give you a clue of what is exactly going on with this Game Boy Color Resident Evil title.

When you boot up the game you're given the standard company logos and then the option to select a language. The music is surprisingly standard RE fare (even if it's a series of digital bleeps). Even included as you open the main menu is the standard "Resident Evil" sound. First time you play there are no options, you just press start and the game begins.

The story opens telling us of an underground group against Umbrella made of the S.T.A.R.S. involved in the previous incidents and ex-Umbrella employees. The story is rather a big farce as Barry even has a captain guiding his plans (you'd think the S.T.A.R.S. themselves would be in charge). In short visions of Campbell telling Solid Snake what to do and where to go in the Game Boy version of Metal Gear come to mind. Heck even the guided info and communications device style in the game reminds me of the codec, but I'll get past that.

The short of it is Umbrella has unleashed a new super B.O.W. on the population, supposedly it has escaped, and for some unknown reason it has made it's way to the Luxury Cruiser the "STARLIGHT." Leon Kennedy was following the B.O.W. but the current status of where he is now is a mystery as they've lost contact with him a day earlier. In short the mission you've accepted as Barry is to find Leon and stop the new B.O.W.

Resident Evil GaidenThe game actually starts with you on the side of the cruiser being instructed on the basics of the game, such as the icon that appears when your near items or about enemies. The control and gameplay is interesting, though in short when you first look at the game it seems the controls are a compacted version of the PlayStation games. The A button is your action button, the B is your aim weapon button. When you aim the weapon you get a cross hair which allows you to target around Barry.

Select is your item menu, and is also a compact version of the old Inventory system. However there is a discard weapon option... the involvement of this I'm yet to know. You start with the standard equipment you do in other games, a handgun and combat knife. Pressing Start brings up a map. Currently as I've just started it shows the four decks of the cruiser, however with what the press info has said I'm expecting more.

Actual combat is where this game fails to take off. You see with the control setting you'd think you'd hold down B and move the target at a zombie, and tap A to shoot. Doesn't work that way. When you either attack zombies (or they attack you) you get taken to a "first person view" in which zombies appear for you to shoot. This isn't like a shooting gallery though, the thing is a bar moves along below the zombies. You need to time your shot to land in the bar to actually hit the zombie and this obviously takes a few shots. The bar is sized by how close the zombie is to you. Also in the middle of this bar is a blue marker, if you can get the marker it means you shoot the zombie in the head - downing him, or her, instantly.

Because of the difficulty, developer M4 has included both the save feature with three slots for saving, as well as a continue feature which continues you exactly as you were before your last zombie fight. This give you a chance to heal or escape from the fight that last killed you.

So far item pickups have been standard Resident Evil stuff, handgun bullets, shotgun and shotgun ammo, and of course herbs. These aren't usually on the ground, they are often hidden in items or located on zombie bodies. On top of that I've found items looking like usual puzzles, including a fuse piece and keys. Seems while Capcom may not have had a lot to do with the making of the game, M4 seems to want to stick to the usual Resident Evil style to keep the fans happy and perhaps get some non-fans with some new features at the same time.

Overall apart from the horrible idea of a combat system and the so far unimaginative plot (though it might get better), and also perhaps that zombies do way more damage than they should, the game isn't as bad as I had originally expected it to be.

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