The header image for this post was created by DeviantArt user Crankd, the original version is available here
I love this game… Seriously love this little story. I decided to do a blog post about this game because (aside from just loving this game to bits) I played a game recently with similar battle mechanics to this and memories just came flooding back.
Get those suckers written down while I can
Resident Evil Gaiden was a Gameboy Colour game released in 2001, developed by Capcom and published by Capcom (Virgin Interactive in Europe). It was never ported to any other platform.
A Bit of A Fan
Okay, I think I can level with you guys by now and talk about a game in the Resident Evil series that, as far as I know, is not that well heard of, not that popular, and not considered cannon to the main plot/series of Resident Evil.
We are delving into handheld territory here. Not the successful Revelations game (My absolute second favorite Ressy game and future post I might add) or the heavily watered down Leon only version of Ressy 2 for the Game.com. It was in fact the first handheld release to have a full story, and it was on the Gameboy Colour.
Hands up who had and still has one of these? What colour was yours?
The first inklings of what the game had in store was the box art.
Unless you lived in Europe, where the boxart showed only a bloodied life preserver.
First impressions would dictate that Leon is your main protagonist for this little adventure but alas this is not the case. Barry Burton, fresh faced, a little older and with his quest for a Jill Sandwich put on hold is the main star of this little adventure.
Now if you would indulge me for a second… who remembers this game?
Extra points go to anyone who played this game back in the day. This game was the inspiration for the battle mechanic of Resident Evil Gaiden.
Now I mentioned earlier that I played a game recently that reminded me of Ressy Gaiden; it was Undertale.
Not the bullet hell part of fighting but the actual attack command. I know that the attack command only goes from left to right once and doesn’t go back again but seeing this reminded me of this forgotten gem of the Gameboy Colour era.
Before I get into the battle mechanic properly let me tease you some more about the game in question: Resident Evil Gaiden is a break from traditional Ressy titles. At this point coming after Code Veronica where fixed, and in Veronica player following, camera angles were the norm. Gaiden hits you with a top down Diablo style camera angle at all times apart from combat.
Okay I’ve teased enough, lets get to the combat.
Never thought you would hear this about a Resy game? The combat is not only first person but has timing based even rhythm style mechanics. The action reticle is constantly moving left to right and timing is needed to land attacks on the enemy.
Hard to get used to but easy to pull off attacks are the name of the game here. Sweet spots are the direct middle of the enemies hit box, which depending on how many there are and the distance to them, means closer enemies are easier to hit but have a greater chance of hitting you; so speed is needed most of the time.
It makes a refreshing change from “bang bang shoot them dead move on” style gameplay. Shooting, whether its the pistol, shotgun, machine gun or grande launcher, is tricky in this game because of the battle mechanic used.
For example during my run on this game I tended to opt for knife attacks for most enemies and used my other weapons for the bosses throughout the game.
You can re-equip weapons, on the fly, while on the battle screen – allowing you to switch between weapon for as an example to a knife if you run out of pistol ammo. As well as ammo count, armour and health can be seen at the bottom of the battle screen.
Not exactly walking on sunshine, starlight will do
The game is set on an luxury ocean liner called “Starlight”, where our operative Mr. Burton is sent as part of an underground organisation established with the sole purpose of taking down Umbrella. From the start you’re told that you’re going to find out what happened to another operative, with whom contact has been lost.
Upon entering the main part of the ship you find that it is infested with zombies.
Dun Dun Duuuuuun
With a series of sometimes confusing puzzles, support characters, slight micro management, fires, explosions and an orphan girl called Lucia, your rag tag crew must find out whats going on and locate the new B.O.W that’s aboard the ship.
Being, at this point in my gaming life, pretty used to Ressy games I “went in hot” thinking I could attack this game like any other Ressy title before this release.
Boy was I in for a shock!
Confusing, unrelenting and more then a little different, Resident Evil Gaiden left me scratching my head for what to do more than I would like to admit. With the game being on the handheld Gameboy Colour
I had a purple one by the way
pickups never stood out very much, just like other Ressy titles, so searching everything was a must.
One of the little quirks I liked about the game was not only equip-able armour, but the fact that if you didn’t have the weapon you couldn’t pick up the ammo for it.
So Final thoughts?
Resident Evil Gaiden is, for the time and hardware it was released on, a fantastic little Ressy-lite game, exploration and survival I could really get behind. Nowadays something like this could be quite easily remade on a mobile platform, or indeed run on an emulator.
I am very fond of this title even if it isnt considered cannon to the main story.
If you get chance and fancy the idea of a top down Resident Evil title with some quirks and unique gameplay I would highly recommend giving this title a go. Even just for curiosity sake.
Do you reckon you’ll give it a go? What did you think of it and did you ever play the original? Let me know in the comments below. And as always I shall catch you guys later.