Freaky Fridays: Resident Evil Code: Veronica

One of the best games for the Dreamcast came from a hit series on the Playstation.  Resident Evil Code: Veronica improved everything in the series that was good while keeping what made the series a classic intact.  A two-disc game means there is a lot going on under the hood, and each moment has been packed with full of interesting visuals, music, sounds,

Unlike previous games, Code: Veronica features two playable main characters in the same storyline.  You begin as Claire Redfield as she searches for her brother Chris, the male protagonist from the first Resident Evil game.  She is captured by Umbrella after doing a number on their Paris facility and is transported and detained at Rockfort Island.  Unfortunately, the T-Virus has been released on the island and Claire must make her escape.  Chris becomes the main protagonist after Claire’s recapture in Antartica and Chris must now save his sister.  I swear you won’t be that confused playing the game.  The circumstances are at a fever pitch because of the siblings’ bond and willingness to go through hell and back to save each other.  You care about every character, even the annoying Steve, though mainly because he uses those amazing golden guns.  The characters look fantastic this time around, with articulate faces, moving lips, and distinct features.

Love those guns.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica brought next generation graphics to the Resident Evil series.  Character models were more detailed, enemies have more tricks (the stretchy guys freak the heck out of me), 3D backgrounds, graphics rendered on the fly, and little touches like flowing water, scampering bugs and the first person dog attack.  The graphical power of the Dreamcast also enhances combat and strategies.  Muzzle flashes light up the room and the fire from you lighter could scare away bats, saving on ammunition.  The game gave me shivers in its first playable moments as you wander around a dark cell, then later on receiving the lighter from Rodrigo (RIP buddy) then searching the same area with new eyes was a momentous dynamic.  Combined with the things series fans love such as the clunky controls and dynamic camera angles (I am being totally serious, I love those mechanics!), Code: Veronica brought players into the world in the same emotional way, but with more scares and new techniques powered by the Dreamcast.

I’m not sure if I love the Ashford family or not.  (Spoilers Ahoy!)  They are weirdos.  They love dragonflies and ants, which is simply gross.  Alfred is a psychotic split personality pretending to be his sister Alexia, and Alexia is a T-Virus infected monster.  Somehow, these goofballs run a huge castle, an Antarctic base and are major figures in an evil corporation.  The only thing that holds me back from wholeheartedly loving them is that Alfred slinks out of so many situations.  When he is first discovered acting like Alexia, he runs away crying.  Then after you think you’ve won, he sends your plane to Antarctica, which is somehow worse than the castle filled with zombies!  What a jerk!  (Spoilers Be Gone!)

One of my favorite aspects of survival horror games is the weaponry.  As a youth, I would lustily read books on weaponry (civil war revolvers for life, baby), so getting to “use” guns in a safe environment was a big draw of these games.  (Side story, the only time I’ve every held a real gun I got the fish sweats.  But if anyone in the LA area wants to go to the Burbank gun range, I’m game.)  In Code: Veronica, you get the Colt Python, a sexy big ass revolver, Dual Mac-10’s that really do some damage, grenade launcher with multiple types of ammo each with their own distinct zombie killing capacity, the linear launcher laser cannon, and last but not least, the AK-47.  Unloading that bad boy into a row of zombies is sure to put a smile on any living persons face with the sweet satisfaction of a job done good.  I just want to state on the record that the bow gun is horrible so of course you find the most ammunition for it.

The bosses in the game are horrifying and fun.  Fighting Alfred on the stairs, Nosferatu with the sniper riffle, a giant snake after he eats Rodrigo (Ish Kabibble!), the giant spider (Get him on the ice!!!!), and Alexia in dragonfly form just to name some of my favorites.  The boss fights break the repetition by adding additional challenge.  The boss battles feel big give you that sense you aren’t going to just breeze through them.  They also act as waypoints to how far you’ve come.  Since the game play hasn’t been tweaked much from the original format, playing can at times feel like walking in a room, finding items, bringing those items to another room, repeat.  The ever growing challenge of the boss battles informs you of how far you’ve come.

Resident Evil wouldn't be the same without Wesker being a dick.

The sound of Code: Veronica is top-notch.  Gunshots, shuffling feet, windows breaking, crows, and thousands more sound effects combined with a dazzling score by Takeshi Miura, Hijiri Anze, and Sanae Kashara and our favorite voice acting that enhances Code: Veronica to the ultimate Resident Evil experience.  It was also the last true sequel to feature the original style of game play before Resident Evil 4 rejuvenated the series.

No one can deny the much-needed impact Resident Evil 4 had on the survival horror genre.  It used the latest technology to completely change the style that people were becoming bored with.  That’s not to say the series was withering by any means.  Code: Veronica was received with praise by critics and sold three million copies on the Dreamcast, a quarter million more than the original Playstation release.  And while it didn’t revolutionize the series like RE4, it did bring gorgeous graphics and new tricks, keeping core fans happy and giving Dreamcast fans something to brag about before it was re-released on the PS2 and Gamecube.  Capcom realized the Dreamcast potential and fully utilized it with its largest property at the time.

  • Josh Newey

    Yes, yes, a thousand times, YES!

    I am a devout RE fan, and in my opinion, no other game in the series even comes close to the brooding atmosphere of Code Veronica. Some of the situations, environments and creatures are so much more bizarre (like the Nosferatu boss or the Bandersnatches) than almost anything else that previous games have presented. It adds a whole new disturbing WTF quality that no other RE really accomplished.

    Also, RE:CV was one of the few games to utilize the VMU in a relatively creative and useful way.

    Ok, I’ll stop gushing now. Thank you for covering this.

  • Since I moved my TV I haven’t rehooked up my Dreamcast. I was a few hours into this game. I better pick it back up before I totally forget what was going on.

    I REALLY need to start finishing games. I’m not right in the middle of this, Shenmue, Persona 3 and Hotel Dusk

  • ammogame

    I started reading from the first issue and bought from the third. I was wondering what happened as I haven’t been able to find it in the book shop for ages. Sigh. It was THE BEST gaming ammogame along with Mean Machines from England. A part of my youth died today finding this news! I just read online now that the mag might be coming back on Dec. 1st.

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