Review: Resident Evil : Code Veronica X

You've probably all seen the breathtaking screenshots for Resident Evil 4, the long awaited new entry to the series. Part four looks like it will renew the Resident Evil idea completely with different controls, a new camera mode and enemies that aren't undead (yet). The only problem is that we won't be able to play it untill somewhere in 2005. In the meantime there's always Resident Evil: Code Veronica X though, the third Resident Evil game to be ported over to the Cube without any enhancements. This one's a Dreamcast port, so it looks a lot better than the Playstation ports Resident Evil 2 and 3. But will it still give us the creeps after all the previous sequels, prequels and remakes? You know the deal, read the rest of this review to find out just that.


Zombies don't innovate:

In Code Veronica X you start playing as Claire Redfield. After Resident Evil 2 she has still not found her brother Chris (main dude in Resident Evil 1), and looking for him she got involved in Umbrella's dirty virus business. Umbrella took her captive and put her on a prison island, also used for nasty and bloody experiments. Of course hell breaks loose as soon as you set foot on the island, most of the soldiers and prisoners have turned into zombies before you've been able to introduce yourself to them, you'll feel right at home if you've played Resident Evil games before. Code Veronica X is a lot like the first two Resident Evil games, you'll be fighting a lot of zombies, a few zombified animals and a huge boss creature every now and then. All the new things Capcom tried in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis are dropped again in Code Veronica, the new controls are gone and there's no Nemesis breathing down your neck all the time. Instead all the classic elements are back, you'll get a door-opening cutscene between every room, you have to collect typewriter lint to save your game and collect countless emblems and keys to open doors. This can seem boring to some players, but Resident Evil fans will be more than happy to play another variation on the first game.


Who needs tutorials?:

After escaping from your prison at the start of the game you'll soon meet your first zombies, about four of them at once while you're still only armed with a knife. Capcom probably reckons you know the drill since this is the fourth Resident Evil game so the difficulty doesn't arch, it just slams down on you from the start. Right from the beginning you have to watch your ammo and typewriter lint. If you don't you're bound to run into a group of zombies packing an empty gun after playing over half an hour without being able to save your game at a typewriter. Conserving ammo is the key to survival, since a lot of the puzzles require you to run around the entire map through lots of rooms with respawning zombies. You lose even more precious ammo if you don't know how to solve a puzzle right away, which can be pretty frustrating at times, but also makes the game even more scary. You'll often find yourself nervously wishing for an zombie-less room during door opening loading screen.


Are those my footsteps?:

Like any good horror movie, a Resident Evil game is at it's best in the places where it scares you out of your chair, and Code Veronica does this very effectively. For the first time in Resident Evil history the surroundings are not prerendered, everything is in full 3D here. Because of this and the fact that Code Veronica is a Dreamcast port the game doesn't look as good as the Resident Evil remake and the prequel Zero, it's easily as scary as those two Cube exclusives in places though. The realtime 3D approach means the camera can move around, which it does most of the time. It's scary as hell when the camera pans along with you, giving you just enough view of the room to see a zombie right before he tries to sink his teeth in you. Offscreen enemies may be frustrating at times, but any horror director will tell you that what you don't see is often far more scary than what you can see. The music and sound effects also do a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat, if you've played a Resident Evil game before you know how creepy it is to hear the distant moans of a zombie you can't see yet. The music is very atmospheric but never overused, the rooms that don't have any music at all are often the most terrifying ones.


More is better:

If there's one big difference with the other Resident Evil games it's in the game's length, Code Veronica is longer than the previous titles, it comes on two Cube discs even though it's a Dreamcast port. The game lets you explore a growing area for a while, giving you the feeling that it's the place you'll spend the rest of the game. Through clever plot twists you're thrown into completely new areas a couple of times though. All these plot twists are delivered in true B-Movie fashion like all other Resident Evil games, complete with overacting voice talent and dramatic music. The story is still interesting though, it tells you more about how umbrella got started and how the first T-virus was produced. It also introduces lots of new characters like the annoying villain twins Alfred and Alexia Ashford and your new partner in crime Steve Burnside. You'll also see a few familiar old faces, both friendly and hostile ones. You even get to play as a couple of characters besides Claire, not in a co-operative way like in Resident Evil Zero but a nice diversion anyway. Not only are there more rooms to explore and storylines to absorb than before, there are also quite a number of interesting weapons and undead enemies to use them on. You'll come across various guns and rifles, a grenade launcher and even a crossbow, complete with exploding arrows. You'll need to put them all to good use to get rid of some of the tougher new enemies, there are giant moths that plant leechlike eggs on your back, there are very fast and big slimy creatures with arms that can stretch across a room to grab you, and there are the Albinoids, small fishlike buggers that electrify you when you touch them. And Code Veronica wouldn't be a Resident Evil without the occasional huge boss enemy that seems completely impossible to kill. Good stuff.


Final Say:

Code Veronica X is a worthy addition to your Resident Evil collection, whether you're a Resident Evil fan or you're just crazy about the Cube remake of the first game. It doesn't look as hot as the Cube-exclusive Resident Evils but you get used to the visuals pretty quickly. The controls are pretty much as clunky as in the first few games (you can use the C-type controls introduced in the remake though), so if you don't have a problem with those you'll be fine playing Code Veronica. You can buy it for budget prices everywhere now, so go check it out at a gamestore near you if you're looking for a good game to play with the lights out.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Nothing new, still scary as hell and very involving though.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability3
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Longer than you expect
Lots of good scares


Dreamcast graphics
Clunky controls

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