I played Resident Evil 4 last year on Game Cube and I loved every minute of it. Iâ€™ve been a big fan of the Resident Evil games (but not the FPS spin-offs) ever since I played the first one on Playstation about 10 years ago (anyone remember that?). So I was very keen to play RE4, but I thought Iâ€™d hold off buying it until the second hand price dropped. The thing is, the second hand price never went very low because itâ€™s such a classic game! Eventually a friend lent it to me because he couldnâ€™t stand the thought of me missing out.
I played the whole game through in whatever spare time I could get, and then I started playing it again just for fun because itâ€™s that good a game. I also had a go at some of the extra games where you have to shoot an endless stream of enemies and survive for as long as possible. These were pretty damn hard, but luckily Iâ€™d been â€œtrained upâ€ by playing the game through once.
So the story is that the presidentâ€™s daughter has been kidnapped, and you (Leon Kennedy, a survivor from a previous game) have been sent on a rescue mission. You get dropped off at a strange rural village in Spain where you find out that the inhabitants are pretty nuts and you gradually uncover a weird cult.
The gameplay is different from the other resident evil games (and MUCH better) in that instead of having an unwieldy character that you move slowly around pre-rendered 3D scenes, you move a fast and capable character around fully dynamic 3D environments. Also when you fire weapons you get an over the shoulder view which really helps, and you have complete control over where you point the weapon, plus the enemies have different hit locations which leads to them having different pain/death responses.
The enemies arenâ€™t zombies either, they are humans whoâ€™ve gone a bit weird, and later on there are monks. There are a few monsters too 😉 Thereâ€™s quite a lot of ammo and health items, but not an infinite supply so you still have to practice ammo conservation to a certain extent. You can smash crates and other things to get items, which is fun (I always use the knife for this, to save ammo).
Thereâ€™s a few puzzles to solve and later on you rescue the girl and have to look after her, which adds an extra tactical element, My friend told me that you can look up her skirt and she calls you a pervert. Naturally I tried this out and found it to be true haha.
Unlike other resident evil games, this game has a shop â€“ well really itâ€™s a dodgy looking man with a long coat who can sell you cool stuff. He also sells maps of where secret treasures are. If you collect them (and sometimes combine them together), he will buy them for a lot of money allowing you to power up your weapons. You can choose to power up the reload speed, clip size and damage of your weapons which is REALLY good fun (for the RPG geeks like me). Thereâ€™s even a shooting range mini-game which is great fun – I got pretty good at it with a variety of weapons.
There wasnâ€™t anything I disliked about the game, itâ€™s totally brilliant all the way through, the pacing, the enviroments, the firepower etc. The game does throw you in at the deep end though: you start off outside a village and when you enter it all the villagers suddenly attack you and all you have is a pistol! Luckily one of the houses has a shotgun (if you can find it). The problem is that the enemies keep on coming – they are relentless! Luckily you can barricade windows, go upstairs, jump off the roof etc. The game has a lot of freedom. Eventually after you are just about dead, they all go away and you breathe a huge sigh of relief. It was a cool way to start the game; they didnâ€™t slowly train you up on easy enemies, you just had to deal with it and survive. Later in the game there are much worse (and cooler) situationsâ€¦
So basically, this game ROCKS big time and gets an easy 5 stars because itâ€™s one of the best ever Game Cube games and certainly the best game of its type that Iâ€™ve played on any console.
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.