Review #1 by Kevin Cheung
Biohazard, also known as Resident Evil, was among one of the first games that were available on the Playstation. And after all this time, people still speak of it with a sense of respect and admiration. Indeed, it is still recognised as a benchmark for the horror/adventure genre of games. The games that have come even remotely close to its standard are far and few between.
For those who do not know, the story of Biohazard begins in Raccoon Forest where the STARS Bravo team have mysteriously fallen out of contact during its investigation of a series of grizzly cannibal-like murders. Alpha team goes in search of their compatriots, and their initial search in the forest proves rather unpromising as they find the remains of one of the Bravo team - after which they are unceremoniously chased into a nearby mansion by a creature that looks like the butt-ugly dog-monster from Ghostbusters. From there, the mystery unravels as to the murders and the disappearance of Bravo team through your investigation, as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, of the entire estate. The investigation itself is littered with tales of conspiracy and encounters with zombies, monsters, more zombies, and the eventual showdown with Tyrant.
The game remains substantially the same as the original, bar a few things. Firstly, there is a lot more blood, gore and violence shown in this game. The opening sequence of the game leaves no doubt about that - the corpse of the team member who is attacked by the dog is shown laying face up, eyes open, with a very bloody open chest-wound to boot. In the scene where you encounter your first zombie, you get to see the decapitation of a team-member as the flesh around his neck is stripped off.. Other new features include the ability to change costumes, slightly enhanced enemy AI, a more generous energy bar, ammo quantities that aren’t as unforgivingly limited as the original, and a slightly better selection of weapons to choose from. This is all made possible by the fact that there are three games to choose from: original, beginner, and arrange.
Graphically and aurally, the game maintains the same excellence that exuded the original release. The use of masterfully pre-rendered backgrounds and atmospheric music in concert with the camera angles that many games attempt to imitate creates a veritable cinematic experience that thrills and chills. All in all, it remains exactly the same as the original.
Is this worth a purchase? Well, that depends on whether you already have it or not. If you’ve never played/heard of/owned this game before, then I seriously wonder which planet you have been on. Go and get it now! As an overall game, it continues to surpass a lot of the crud that is being released. No videogame library is complete without this game.
The obvious question now is: I have the original Biohazard, so is this worth the extra purchase? By itself, the Director’s Cut should only appeal to the diehard fans. Shelling out the extra cash for a few extra pints of blood is not my idea of good value for money. But there is the fact that it costs 4800 yen, which is 1000 yen less than usual. Then there is the playable Biohazard 2 demo that comes packed in, which in my mind puts this on the top of the "must buy" list. A final consideration is that the box of the game fails to mention that there are two other demos on the demo disc - the first being a rolling demo of Breath of Fire 3 which was largely uninspiring, and the second being a fully playable demo of Rockman Neo (which has since been renamed to Rockman Dash). Rockman Neo was excellent fun, and entirely unexpected. However, that story will have to wait till another review.
Unfortunately, I have no idea if the US version of the game will come with the demo, so the choice becomes a little more complicated. Personally, I sold my original Biohazard before I bought the Director’s Cut. I also have very little idea as to the rumors regarding the cuts to the US release. As far as I am concerned, they remain rumors until the final release.