Resident Evil 2  (Nintendo 64, 1999) Reviews
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Resident Evil 2 (Nintendo 64, 1999)

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

Sep 2, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great graphics, great sound, fun puzzles, scary in places

Cons:...but not quite as scary as the original, control takes a little getting used to.

The Bottom Line: Resident Evil 2 is a fantastic sequel to one of the most groundbreaking games of the last decade.


The original Resident Evil was among the first games I bought for my Playstation back around Thanksgiving, 2000 (yes, I know I was a little late). To this day, it is still one of my favorite Playstation games. The puzzles were imaginative, the graphics were great (at least back when it came out), and even though it wasn't nearly as scary as critics made it out to be, I did actually shriek a few times when playing it. Not long after, I bought the N64 version of Resident Evil 2. So how does it stack up to the original? Read on...

The game takes place a little after the events in the first Resident Evil. After the stars team led by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine successfully unraveled the mystery surrounding Raccoon City's sudden outbreak of zombies, it wasn't long before the culprit Umbrella, Inc. got their revenge. With the man-made T-virus discovered as the cause for such pandemonium, Umbrella got to work on a new virus called the "G-Virus," an updated T-Virus. Enter rookie cop Leon Kennedy and his new friend (and sister of Chris) Claire Redfield, who vow to do everything they can to seize this outbreak.

The game plays just like the original. You have a choice of two playable characters, Leon or Claire, each with their own slew of challenges and puzzles. People tend to love or hate the control set up. I find that once you get used to it, the game plays like a charm. On the N64 controller, you move the thumb stick upwards to move your character forward, down to move him/her back, and to the right or left to turn around. What makes the controls work so well is that, because of the prerendered backgrounds, you're basically just walking from one still JPEG image to the next (think Myst with a controllable main character and tons of zombies!). As such, there are so many different camera angles and whatnot that a traditional control set-up just wouldn't work very well.

One big improvement over the original is with its replay value. Resident Evil was one of those games you played once, enjoyed, but never came back to again (not even to play as the second character - I played as Jill ^_^). RE2, on the other hand, has quite a bit more atmosphere and diversity, so you will want to play as both Leon and Claire. As a bonus, once the game is "beaten" as either character, you get a chance to play their "B Scenarios," which add just enough new things to the main game to make them worth playing. The puzzles are rearranged, enemy placement is changed slightly, the story is altered (i.e. improved), you get two new endings, and to top it off, there's one p!ssed off mutant constantly on your tail. Unfortunately, with this giant improvement comes one giant setback. Resident Evil 2 is less scary than the original. That isn't to say there won't be times when you shriek and even let out a mild pout, but these moments are quite a bit fewer than they were in the original. I won't go into too much detail, assuming you're one of the five people who never played this game, but let's just say Resident Evil 2 is a little tame compared to the original.

The graphics in RE2 are a tremendous improvement over the original's, and even better thanks to the N64's Expansion Pack. The character models look great, and the prerendered backgrounds are simply stunning. Speaking of stunning, believe the hype. Resident Evil 2 for the N64 is loaded with Full Motion Video. The video clips themselves are a little grainy, but considering the fact that just one year before the game's release nobody thought real FMV was possible on the cartridge-based N64, they're very impressive. My only complaint is with the monsters, who often look like they could've used a few more polygons to really beef up the scare factor.

Sound in Resident Evil 2 is equally impressive. There's a ton of speech and voice acting crammed onto the cart. Overall, the acting's an improvement over the first RE, but that of course isn't saying much! Leon, in particular, just sounds overly aggressive most of the time, and much of the supporting cast is downright laughable. Claire probably puts on the best performance overall. The music is suitably creepy and fits the atmosphere perfectly. It's always satisfying to walk through a totally silent hallway, only to be assaulted by a full-on orchestral attack after entering a new room. There's a haunting yet enjoyable piano melody in the storage rooms (rooms where you save your progress and gather inventory).

Overall, Resident Evil 2 is a fantastic game. But whether it is as good as the original is a little debatable. On one hand, the game improves tremendously in terms of graphics, sounds, and yes play control. However, the decreased scare factor (which has always been the selling point of Resident Evil) hurts the game substantially. Nonethelesss, RE2 is a worthy sequel to the original Resident Evil, and one no N64 owner (I avoid saying "Resident Evil fan") should pass up.


Recommend this product? Yes


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