Resident Evil Code: Veronica is a departure for the series in many ways. It’s not in Raccoon City, it was the first game in the series, at its release, to not be released on the PlayStation, but for the Dreamcast instead. Like the Nintendo-Capcom agreement, it didn’t last long on Sega’s short lived console, being ported to various other systems. I played the port Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, which is almost identical to the original except for some extended cutscenes. I’ve tried to avoid SPOILERS in the previous articles, but there will be quite a few in this one, which are necessary to discussing various game parts. Consider yourself warned. As always, these articles contain scenes of explicit violence and gore.

The game is set three months after the events of RE 2 and RE3 with Claire once again takes a starring role as she breaks into an Umbrella facility in Paris only to be captured and sent to another Umbrella base on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Talk about bad luck. This being an RE game, a T-Virus outbreak subsequently occurs on the island and Claire must escape with fellow inmate Steve Burnside. They deal not only with the usual zombies, but the the base’s commander, Alfred Ashford. Calling him mentally unstable would be an understatement. The game then moves to yet another Umbrella facility in the Antarctic, which contains reproductions of a few rooms fro ma certain mansion. Claire’s part of the story ends there and the game resumes back on the island with Chris, making his triumphant return to the series. He follows his sister to the Antarctic where the Redfield reunion finally takes place, but is broken up by a previously thought dead Wesker and a mutated Alexia Ashford, Alfred’s twin sister. Chris saves the day and the siblings escape, but not before Chris vows to take down Umbrella, which every main character in the series has said in one form or another.

The gameplay of remains unchanged for the most part with a few small tweaks. The biggest change is in the grahpics, especially with 3D backgrounds replacing the pre-rendered ones of previous games. The character models are also updated and loom ore smoother and realistic then the polygon laden ones of the PlayStation games. The jump in quality is somewhat ruined by the tank-like controls, though the 180 degree turn is retained. The game is also significantly longer then previous entries and takes a good 8-10 hours to complete, whereas previous games can be beat in 2 or 3 hours. One addition that was surely meant to up the suspense is a change to the ‘door’ loading scenes. When entering specific rooms, the door opens slowly with appropriate tension-adding music. In theory this is a nice idea, but the big reveal afterwards never really lives up to it. It gives away that something big happens next and there are even times where you don’t need it to know you’re walking into something.

Maybe the bright shiny one? Jus sayin’.

Code Veronica also contains some of the most absurd things in the series. Alfred Ashford is one of the more interesting villains in the series. He’s incredibly psychotic, even to the point of developing a split personality of his sister Alexia and having an unhealthy obsession of her. Alexia is no different, experimenting on herself  in order to gain vast powers to take over the world. Would it hurt Capcom to create villains that aren’t so overly cliched? Steve has what might be the worst voice acting in the series, which is something considering the original game, and when he finally dies in what is meant to be a sad scene, you’ll probably be cheering. Claire, originally described as a college student in RE2, suddenly is able to single-handedly infiltrate a heavily protected Umbrella facility to look for her brother and only does it because she decides it’s better then sending Chris an email. He also can’t be bothered to call her or something, but instead has her narrowly escaping zombie outbreaks to find him.  Code: Veronica also takes the item fetching aspect to unbelievable heights. At one point you find a piano roll inside a torture dungeon that you need to unlock a casino slot machine which produces an ant statue necessary to unlock a music box vital to lowering a ladder on top of a bed to get up to a carousel. The game also gives you a square valve when you need an octagon one. So you change the shape only to discover later you need it to be square and have to find a octagon-to-square converter piece. I wish I was making this up.

Despite the long list of mind-boggling additions Code: Veronica was a very well received game and should not be missed when playing through the series. Next time, the series takes a radical step forward and completely changes itself in Resident Evil 4.