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Resident Evil 4

by Steven Rodriguez - May 12, 2004, 1:29 pm PDT
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When you get to the part with the scary chainsaw guy, run away quickly.

A pretty popular draw to the Nintendo booth early in the show was the Resident Evil game kiosks lined up alongside the line to go see the Nintendo DS. A lot of people were watching it and commenting on how gory and bloody the game was, and after spending some time with it, I would have to agree with the general consensus.

The version at the show started you off at the end of a bridge after the Secret Service drops you off to rescue the president's daughter. Making your way into the village, you'll fend off a few "zombies." Leon, however, says they aren't zombies (he's an expert at zombies by this time). While we figure out what exactly they are, more and more of them start to appear, and by the time you reach the town, there are about 20 or 30 of these suckers coming for you, ?including a rather nasty one with a burlap sack over his head and a chainsaw that kindly removes the your head, killing you instantly. It seems that that's the end of the demo, since no one has been able to beat him as of yet.

The game demo clearly says the game is a work in progress, and it shows a bit in the textures seen. However, the general feel of the atmosphere leads it to believe that when the game does get polished up, it's going to look pretty damn scary. There were a few moments in the demo that panic set in, and then after you run out of bullets trying to fend off the 10 or so of the zombies that are converging on you at once, you're pretty much done for. It's going to live up to the Resident Evil name on look and feel alone, that's for sure.

Speaking of looks, Leon looks pretty good in his leather jacket, which is very realistic-looking. His hair looks just as good. This is important, because you will spend almost all your time playing the game watching the backside of both of them, with the over-the-shoulder camera angle. This does a few things for how the game plays. For one, you will have a pretty good view of what's coming up ahead without much of anything getting in the way (don't forget, the game is always in widescreen). The flipside here is that you have absolutely no idea what's behind you. This looks to be how the game was designed, though, since if Leon is so focused on what's in front of him, he wouldn't be able to see what's behind him until he's walked right into it.

The game controls are pretty simple, with the major functions going to just three buttons. A is your all-purpose action button, and directions will come up on-screen when something calls for you to press the button. If you hold down R, your gun will raise, and you can hit A a few times to pump some rounds into a zombie. The B button, also known as your eternal friend, will make Leon run. Believe me, you're going to be running away from a lot of zombie things in this game, from what was available to play in the demo.

However, this being a Resident Evil game, there's always going to be an issue with the controls, and this game is no exception. While they have thankfully added a 180-degree quick turnaround option (Down+B), it's still a little akward trying to navagate tight spaces because of the turn-in-place control style. It seems like Capcom feels there's no other way to control this style of game, but at least it's better then static cameras and slow movements.

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Genre Adventure
Developer Capcom

Worldwide Releases

na: Resident Evil 4
Release Jan 11, 2005
jpn: Biohazard 4
Release Jan 27, 2005
eu: Resident Evil 4
Release Mar 18, 2005
aus: Resident Evil 4
Release Mar 24, 2005
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